Farmers look to natural sources of fertilizer

IOWA - Rising fertilizer costs have some farmers turning up their noses at chemical suppliers and looking for a more natural solution.
calendar icon 11 June 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
Randy Lackender, an Iowa City farmer, said his fertilizer costs continue to climb while corn prices lag. His solution? Stop buying fertilizer and get it from another source: hogs.

He isn't going to own the hogs, only provide a building for them to be raised. In exchange, he will get the manure. An area pork producer will own the hogs, and a neighboring young farmer will tend the hogs.

"I don't care to do it (raise hogs), and I don't have time. Manure was the spark that got me," said Lackender, 50, who grows crops and operates Lackender Fabrications, producing digging attachments for skid loaders.

Since 2000, the price of farm diesel has climbed 67 cents a gallon to $2. Anhydrous ammonia has doubled in price. Compare that to the price of corn, which has gone from $1.75 in 2000 to about $2 this year.

For Lackender, the decision was obvious.

His hog building will house 2,000 hogs. A pit under the building will collect enough manure to fertilizer up to 250 acres a year, he said.

The move, Lackender hopes, will decrease if not eliminate his annual $20,000 fertilizer costs.

Source: Agri News
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